Submitted by: Derek Holtom
Photo credit: Swan Valley Star and Times
You have to hand it to the Portage Terriers – they sure know how to make a deal.
At last year’s trade deadline the Terriers acquired Josh Martin from the Swan Valley Stampeders for some veteran scoring to help them in their quest for a three-peat – which he provided. But part of that trade included the Terriers also acquiring the rights to 1997 born netminder Lasse Petersen, who was playing with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL at the time.
Fast forward 10 months and Petersen returned to the MJHL after starting the year with the Rebels, providing the Terriers an extra dividend from last year’s trade. And what a payoff – Petersen won his first six games with the Terriers, won player of the week honours (as well being named the runner-up in his first week back), all while posting all-star netminding numbers – a .940 save percentage, a 1.62 GAA and one shutout.
“It’s been going well so far – the guys have been very welcoming, and we’ve been playing pretty well,” said Petersen. “We were able to go on a bit of a winning streak, which unfortunately came to an end (against the Swan Valley Stampeders, his former team).”
Not coincidently, Petersen’s arrival led the Terriers to surge up the standings, moving from the middle of the pack to within striking distance of top spot.
Head coach and general manager Blake Spiller said the deal last January was done with an eye to possibly having Petersen join the Terriers this year – something which has instantly benefited the team.
“There’s always an opportunity for a 20-year-old to come back from the WHL with their limit of three (20-year-olds), especially goaltenders,” said Spiller. “So we thought there was an opportunity, but that he also had other options like possibly back over in Denmark.”
“So there was no guarantee he would be released or come to the Portage Terriers, but we’re glad it all worked out.”
Spiller added Petersen’s arrival helped solidify the goaltending position for the three-time defending champions.
“We had a couple of young 17-year-olds, but having Lasse come in here obviously shores up our goaltending situation,” noted Spiller. “As time has gone on I think he’s proven he’ll be really key for us moving forward.”
With a wealth of junior A, major junior and world junior experience, Petersen really provides the Terriers with another weapon in their quest for a four-peat. But what does goaltender from Denmark think of joining the Terriers mid-season?
“I just try to do my best whatever level I’m playing at,” said Petersen. “I won’t compare the two leagues much, because you will end up in the same situations whether you play in the MJHL or the WHL. I just want to contribute to the team – and whatever level I play at, I want to help the team.”
The 20-year-old puck stopper also spoke about the trade which saw his father Erik Petersen (then GM/Head Coach of Swan Valley) send his rights to the Terriers. Lasse felt it was the right move, ensuring he would chart his own path if he ever came back to the MJHL.
“I discussed it with my dad that if I was going to come back and play junior A I wanted to play for someone else,” he said. “It’s nothing against him, it’s just that I don’t know anyone that has played for their father as long as I have, and I felt it was time for a change. It’s nothing against his coaching methods, it was just time for me to move on.”
After he finishes his junior career, Petersen said he hopes to play CIS hockey, preferably here in Manitoba. With MJHL, WHL and World Junior experience, it’s hard to imagine schools such as the University of Manitoba wouldn’t consider recruiting him for next season.